Top Chef: Washington D.C. premiering in June - New judge, new faces, same hot host

[image-1]Following the season's D.C. setting and themed challenges, special guests will include: Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House chef Sam Kass, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, CIA Director Leon Panetta and NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie.

Personally, I'm excited to see the new chefs in action so I can give them all snarky nicknames. We'll also get to see who fills the usual archetypes: the bitchy female trying to prove herself, the cocky one, the funny one, the foreign one with an accent who delivers funnny and/or memorable quips, the eye candy -- you get the idea.

Catch the premiere on Wednesday, June 16 at 9 p.m., the listen to our fun and snarky recap of it on the Top Chef Podcast the following day.

Check out the cast bios of Top Chef: Washington D.C. here:

The new chef'testants:

* Alex Reznik, 33 – Hometown: Brooklyn, NY; Resides in Hollywood, CA

* Amanda Baumgarten, 27 – Hometown/Resides in: Los Angeles, CA

* Andrea Curto-Randazzo, 39 – Hometown: Vero Beach, FL/Resides in: Miami Beach, FL.

* Angelo Sosa, 34 – Hometown: Connecticut; Resides in New York, NY.

* Arnold Myint, 32 – Hometown/Resides in: Nashville, TN.

* Ed Cotton, 32 – Hometown: Boston, MA; Resides in New York, NY.

* Jacqueline Lombard, 33 – Hometown: Boston, MA/Resides in Brooklyn, NY.

* John Somerville, 42 – Hometown/Resides in: West Bloomfield, MI.

* Kelly Liken, 33 – Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA/Resides in: Vail, CO.

* Kenny Gilbert, 36 – Hometown: Cleveland, OH/Resides in: Telluride, CO

* Kevin Sbraga, 30 – Hometown/Resides in: Willingboro, NJ.

* Lynne Gigliotti, 51 – Hometown: Philadelphia, PA/Resides in Hyde Park, NY.

* Stephen Hopcraft, 40 – Hometown: Cleveland, OH.; Resides in Las Vegas, NV

* Tamesha Warren, 24 – Hometown: Barbados; Resides in Washington D.C.

* Tiffany Derry, 26 – Hometown: Beaumont, TX/Resides in: Dallas, TX

* Timothy Dean, 39 – Hometown: Washington D.C./Resides in Baltimore, MD

* Tracey Bloom, 33 – Hometown: Rochester, NY/Resides in Atlanta, GA

I am beyond excited to announce the newest installment of Top Chef, which takes place in our nation's capital this season and premieres June 16.

Our favorite Top Chef faces will be returning to critique and judge this new batch of chef'testants: Tom Colicchio, who was recently given the 'Outstanding Chef' award from the James Beard Foundation; Gail Simmons of Food & Wine Magazine, not to mention she'll be bringing her fabulous rack along for the ride; and crush-worthy host and new baby mama Padma Laksmi returns as the show's host.

As for new faces, the snarky Brit judge Toby Young will be replaced with the highly talented French chef (and total hunk) Eric Ripert, whom we've seen as a guest judge in past seasons.

Season seven will welcome 17 new chef'testants from all over the nation to battle it out for the grand prize of $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine Magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and the coveted title of "Top Chef." (See the lineup below.)

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